Just in time for the first anniversary super typhoon Yolanda, SM Foundation through the SM Cares Housing Program gave hope to typhoon victims by turning over 200 homes at the SM Cares Village in Brgy. Polambato, Bogo City in northern Cebu.
The 200 houses is the first of the 1,000 disaster resilient homes that will be given for free to chosen beneficiary survivors of super typhoon Yolanda. Another 200 homes will be built in Çoncepcion, Iloilo, as well as 400 in New Kawayan, Tacloban City. SM Foundation is also set to break ground for another SM Cares Village with 200 houses in Ormoc City.
Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR)’s Secretary Panfilo Lacson, United Nations Chief of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia and Pacific Margareta Whalstrom, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, and Bogo Mayor Celestino Martinez, Jr. led the ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling of the donor’s wall and village marker together with SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy and SM Foundation Executive Director Debbie Sy, and members of the Fernan family who donated the lot.
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Trustee Fr. Ernesto Javier led the blessing of the houses. Keys and certificates were then distributed to the families to officially identify them as beneficiaries of the program.
“These houses send the message that indeed, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mayor Celestino Martinez. “These homes provide a start for these families- a new beginning.” He also thanked the Sy family, the Fernan family who donated the land, and “all those who worked hard to make this dream come true for the beneficiaries of the project.”
Governor Davide thanked the SM Group for partnering with the local government unit in giving not just houses, but a village to the community. “Now I can say that Bogo City has risen. Life goes on and we are determined to bring the northern part of Cebu to full recovery.”
Secretary Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, was happy to note that, “SM followed the standards with the structure of these houses, and we are classifying these housing units as permanent shelters because they followed the 250 km per hour wind resistance.
Each of the 20 x 23 square meter houses is designed to exceed the requirements of the Building Code and mandated standards, each house can withstand the winds and strength of a Category 5 super typhoon without any major material damages.
The village has utilities, basic amenities like streetlights, community center and basketball court. In addition to its disaster resiliency features, the houses will also have heat resistant painted roofing to help lower interior temperature and increase energy efficiency.
The turnover ceremonies brought a lot of joy to the beneficiaries. Ernesto Orque, who works in a fishpond, luckily saved all his ten children but lost his wife during the typhoon. They lost their home, too and for a year lived with friends and neighbors. Ernesto thanked SM for “providing my family a new shelter and a new hope to pick up the missing pieces of our lives
Eufrecina Tepait and her family lived in a shanty and lost hope after the typhoon badly damaged their house. After we learned that we are one of the beneficiaries of the housing project, our hearts leaped with joy,” said Eufrecina.
After the program, donors were able to meet with the different beneficiaries who were all survivors of the super typhoon. Families thanked the donors for the early Christmas gift they received.
Among the very generous donors present were Ramon Aboitiz Foundation President Robert Aboitiz, Rotary International Past District Governor Ed Chiongbian, and Bernie and Alice Liu of Golden ABC. Also present were FCB Manila’s Nikki Diyco, Jun Young Bang and Tony Park of Tony and Jackey Beauty Salon; as well as executives from the SM Store, Watsons, SM Appliance Center. Also present were USEC Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Danny Antonio and SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia.
The village’s streets are named after the major donors –Fernan Street, Acre Aircon Street, All Around Street, Asya Design Street, SM Appliance Street, Watsons Street, Boysen Street, Rotary International Street, and Paul Harris Street. British model David Gandy, also a donor, had the street named after his grandmother Doreen.
The SM Cares Housing project is fully privately-funded by SM, its business partners, stakeholders and by the communities it serves.
The SM Cares Housing Project is on top of the P100 million SM has already committed to rehabilitate areas hard hit by super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Visayas.